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E01285: The Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome in the 530s, and re-edited before 546, in its account of *Bonifacius (bishop of Rome, ob. 422, S00472), recounts the disputed election of Bonifacius and Eulalius, during which the former stayed at the cemetery of *Felicitas (martyr of Rome, S00525) on the via Salaria and celebrated Easter at the basilica of *Agnes (virgin and martyr of Rome, S00097) on the via Nomentana, both in the suburbs of Rome, while the latter stayed at [the church of?] *Hermes (presumably the martyr of Rome buried on the via Salaria vetus, S00404), at Antium (Anzio, south of Rome), and celebrated Easter at the Lateran, within Rome. It also mentions the construction by Bonifacius of an oratory of Felicitas and her son Silvanus at her cemetery on the via Salaria, and his burial close to her body on 25 October [AD 422].

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posted on 18.04.2016, 00:00 by robert
Liber Pontificalis 44

First edition (as reconstructed by Duchesne)

Bonifatius, natione Romanus, ex patre Iocundo presbitero, sedit ann. III m. VIII d. VI. Hic sub intentione cum Eulalio ordinantur uno die et fuit dissensio in clero menses VII et dies XV...
Qui etiam sepultus est in cimiterio sanctae Felicitatis via Salaria, VIII kal. novemb.

'Bonifacius, born in Rome, son of the priest Iocundus, held the see 3 years 8 months 6 days. He and Eulalius were ordained in rivalry on the same day and the clergy were divided 7 months 15 days...
He was buried in the cemetery of saint Felicitas on the via Salaria on 25 October.'


Second edition

Bonifatius, natione Romanus, ex patre Iocundo presbitero, sedit ann. III m. VIII d. VII. Hic sub intentione cum Eulalio ordinantur uno die et fuit dissensio in clero mens. VII et d. XV. Eulalius vero ordinatur in basilica Constantiniana, Bonifatius autem in basilica Iuliae. Eodem tempore audiens hoc Placidia Augusta cum filio suo Valentiniano Augusto, dum sederent Ravenna, retulit Honorio Augusto Mediolano sedenti. Eodem tempore ambo Augusti missa auctoritate hoc praeceperunt, ut ambo exirent civitate. Qui cum pulsi exissent, habitavit Bonifatius in cymiterio sanctae Felicitatis martyris via Salaria, Eulalius vero in civitate Antio ad sanctum Hermen. Veniens autem dies proximus Paschae praesumpsit Eulalius, eo quod ordinatus fuisset in basilica Constantiniana, et introibit in urbem et baptizavit et celebravit Pascha in basilica Constantiniana; Bonifatius vero, sicut consuetudo erat, celebravit baptismum Pasche in basilica sanctae martyris Agnae


'Bonifacius, born in Rome, son of the priest Iocundus, held the see 3 years 8 months 7 days. He and Eulalius were ordained in rivalry on the same day and the clergy were divided 7 months 15 days. Now Eulalius was ordained in the Constantinian basilica [= the Lateran basilica], whereas Bonifacius was ordained in that of Julius. On hearing this the empress Placidia, with her son the emperor Valentinian [III], then residing at Ravenna, reported it to the emperor Honorius in residence at Milan. The two emperors sent a warrant ordering that both men should leave the city. When they had been forced out, Bonifacius stayed at the cemetery of the martyr saint Felicitas on the via Salaria, while Eulalius stayed at saint Hermes’ in the city of Antium. But when the following Easter was coming, Eulalius, relying on the fact he had been ordained in the Constantinian basilica, dared to enter the city and perform baptisms and celebrate Easter in the Constantinian basilica, while Bonifacius celebrated the Easter baptism in the normal way at the basilica of the martyr St Agnes.'


There follows the further history of the conflict in which ultimately Bonifatius got the better over Eulalius.


Hic fecit oratorium in cymiterio sanctae Felicitatis iuxta corpus eius et ornavit sepulchrum sanctae martyris Felicitatis et sancti Silvani, ubi et posuit hoc:
pateam argenteam, pens. lib. XX;
scyphum argenteum, pens. lib. X;
amam argenteam, pens. lib. XIII;
calices minores II, pens. sing. lib. IIII;
coronas argenteas III, pens. sing. lib. XV
...
Qui etiam sepultus est via Salaria iuxta corpus sanctae Felicitatis martyris VIII kal. novemb.


'He built an oratory in the cemetery of saint Felicitas, close to her body, and decorated the tomb of the martyr saint Felicitas and of saint Silvanus, where he placed the following:
a silver paten weighing 20 lb;
a silver scyphus weighing 10 lb;
a silver ama weighing 13 lb;
2 smaller chalices each weighing 4 lb;
3 silver crowns each weighing 15 lb.
...
He was buried on the via Salaria close to the body of the martyr saint Felicity on 25 October.'


Text: Duchesne 1886, 87/89 and 227-228. Translation: Davis 2010, 32-33, lightly modified.

History

Evidence ID

E01285

Saint Name

Felicitas, martyr in Rome and her seven sons, ob. ???? : S00525 Boniface I, bishop of Rome, ob. 422 : S00472 Hermes, martyr in Rome, ob. ? : S00404 Agnes, martyr in Rome (ob. c. 304) : S00097

Saint Name in Source

Felicitas Bonifatius Hermes Agna

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

530

Evidence not after

546

Activity not before

418

Activity not after

422

Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Rome

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Liber Pontificalis

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Chalices, censers and other liturgical vessels Precious material objects

Source

The Liber Pontificalis consists of a series of very short lives of popes. The preface attributes it to pope Damasus (366-384), but this attribution is obviously false. According to Louis Duchesne, the first modern editor of the Liber Pontificalis, the original series of lives was written in Rome by an anonymous author, probably a member of the lesser clergy, in the 530s, and contained the lives from *Peter the Apostle to Felix IV (ob. 530). Shortly after, before 546, the text was re-edited by another anonymous author and only this edition survives. The first edition, however, can be reconstituted on the basis of its two epitomes (and the second edition). The second edition started to be continued systematically from the time of pope Honorius (625–638). It should be noted that Theodor Mommsen dated both editions of the Liber Pontificalis to the 7th century, but his opinion is widely rejected and the commonly accepted dating is that of Duchesne. For the pre-Constantinian period (before 312), the credibility of the Liber Pontificalis is very low. The chronology is confused, and details concerning the personal lives, decisions and ordinations of the bishops of Rome at best reflect what people in the 6th century trusted to be true, at worst are a pure invention of the author. The situation changes with the later lives. Already the information of 4th-century papal foundations and offerings are generally trustworthy. The early 6th-century evidence, based on the author's first hand knowledge is even better, though still imperfect.

Bibliography

Edition: Duchesne, L., Le Liber pontificalis. 2 vols (Paris: E. Thorin, 1886-1892) (with substantial introduction and commentary). Translation: Davis, R., The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis) (Translated Texts for Historians 6; 3rd ed.; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010).

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